Gender Verification via Webcam

It is interesting to see the MMO phenomenon spreading around the globe, and new restrictions being placed on these environments by the various countries. Asia has always dominated the world market in MMO’s, dwarfing even WOW with some of their more popular worlds.

There’s an article up that addresses the issue of men playing female characters in the Aurora Technology MMO ‘King of the World’.

Shanda’s Aurora Bans Transsexuals

The regulation on this Chinese MMO is that anyone wanting to play a female character must verify their gender via webcam with the company. Interesting how this article tags these players as “transsexuals”, I wonder if that’s the same language used by the company in this policy.

The issue of gender in online virtual worlds has always been much debated topic. In a strictly role playing sense, there’s nothing strange or unusual about males playing female characters (or visa versa) in fantasy role playing MMO’s (World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Galaxies, etc.). This becomes a little more of an issue in virtual worlds like Second Life where more players expect other players to play their real life gender in-world.

I believe this is the first MMO to actually try to enforce the gender of their in-world avatars matching their real world owners. And isn’t it odd that the same rule does not seem to apply to women wanting to play male avatars in this MMO?

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